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By BAE Systems Plc

Dominic Raab Rules Out No-Fly Zone Over Ukraine Despite Zelenskyy Appeal


2 min read

Dominic Raab said the international community has “decided against” operating a no-fly zone over Ukraine despite calls from the country’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The deputy prime minister said on Tuesday it was right that the UK “consider everything” in its attempts to support Ukraine against aggression from Putin’s forces.

But he said “ putting UK forces in a position where they will be directly required to shoot down Russian planes” would “feed Putin’s narrative”.

“From the point of view of the distinction between what we would do for a NATO ally and Ukraine, which is a close partner who we want to support, we will not get involved directly in military operations against Russia,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

Raab added: “We have considered the no fly zone but for the reasons I've given… the international committee as a whole has decided against it.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace also appeared to rule out a no-fly zone last week, insisting that to send troops to Ukraine would be equivalent to Nato declaring war on Russia.

“To do a no-fly zone, I would have to put British fighter jets directly against Russian fighter jets,” he said.

“Nato will have to effectively declare war on Russia, because that’s what you would do.”

Raab’s comments come after Ukrainian President Zelenskyy urged Western allies on Monday to consider imposing a no-fly zone for Russian missiles, planes and helicopters in response to their shelling of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

He claimed Putin’s forces had launched 56 rocket strikes on the city in the preceding five days, and accused Russia of committing war crimes during the conflict.

“I believe that Russia is trying to apply pressure in this unsubtle way. Do not waste time. We do not accept such tactics. Fair negotiations can occur when one side does not hit the other side with rocket artillery at the very moment of negotiations,” he said.

The US has also ruled out supporting Ukraine via imposing a no-fly zone, with White House spokesperson Jen Psaki insisting on Monday that President Joe Biden was “not intending to send US troops to fight a war with Russia”.

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